Barcelona are reportedly still interested in making a move for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot during the January transfer window rather than wait until next summer to attempt to land him for free.
Rabiot's contract expires at the end of this season, and Barca are said to be ready to renew their interest midway through the campaign, per Jesus Burgos of Sport.
Juventus, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur were also linked with the France international over the summer, per Sport, but he opted to remain at the Parc des Princes to head into the last year of his deal.
This isn't the first time Rabiot has teased the end of his contract at PSG and come within sight of its expiration. There's little doubting the player's talent, but his tenure has been marred by instances where his mentality has been questioned.
PSG manager Thomas Tuchel hinted at a similar sentiment when asked if Rabiot has the discipline to play in a more defensive, deep-lying role: "It's not about his talent: He could do it, no doubt, but it's not enough to just have the physical and technical ability to play as a No. 6. You also have to think like a No. 6."
As for why Barca didn't get their hands on their target in the summer, Burgos wrote that PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi simply didn't want to cash in and isn't known for relinquishing assets he wants to keep.
Sportswriter Andrew Gaffney highlighted what an important factor that is, meaning it's unlikely Rabiot will even leave in January unless the club deem it so:
The winter transfer window will be PSG's final opportunity to make money from a Rabiotdeparture, and while they may hold out hope he repeats history and signs an extension, it's far from assured as things stand.
That's particularly the case given the level of competition said to be ready to rival Barcafor the player in 2019, and French football expert Julien Laurens told The Anfield WrapLiverpool are one such interested party:
The Anfield Wrap @TheAnfieldWrap
"The interest in [Rabiot] from Liverpool since Klopp arrived has always been there."🗣 "There's been a lot of positives so far in those contacts."🇫🇷 Subscribe to TAWPlayer to listen to an excellent special with @LaurensJulien on LFC's move for Rabiot 👉https://t.co/q0tg7SFik9 https://t.co/CC62JHqcNU
The Blaugrana invested in their midfield over the summer, signing one prospect in Gremiostar Arthur Melo, 22, and a more ripe-and-ready recruit in Arturo Vidal, 31, who moved from Bayern Munich.
They joined the likes of Sergio Busquets, Philippe Coutinho, Rafinha, Sergi Roberto, Denis Suarez and others in fighting for a midfield spot, and broadcaster Deji Faremi hinted in the summer that they're hardly in need of new faces:
New rules means Rabiot would not be cup-tied in the UEFA Champions League should Barcelona advance that far, giving La Liga's reigning champions yet more reason to pursue the PSG playmaker.